Thursday, July 19, 2007

O'Reilly and the hate talk

-- by Dave

Bill O'Reilly, I object.

As someone whose work involves tracking the activities of neo-Nazis, the Klan, and other elements of the extremist right, it's time that someone pointed out the profound damage that O'Reilly is inflicting on our national discourse by promoting the notion that somehow, DailyKos is comparable to hate groups like the Klan and the neo-Nazis.

What O'Reilly is telling the public, essentially, is that such hate groups purvey the same kind of discourse that you find at common, garden-variety political blogs. He's not only smearing DKos -- he's seriously downplaying and distorting the kind of hate being spewed by the haters of the racist right.

He did it again yesterday:
But here's what I think. The hate websites on both the left and the right -- I object to. You know I object to. Now, you're a little bit more a libertarian about this in our previous conversations.

But I say this. There's no difference between the KKK and the Nazis, who have websites, than the Daily Kos. Because the Daily Kos is basically saying, "We're allowing this kind of thing to come on. It's good that Tony Snow has a recurrence of cancer; we hope he dies. We're sorry the assassination attempt against Dick Cheney failed; let them try again." And on and on and on and on.

I mean, this is the stuff that they have every day on this website, and they revel in it.

Now, am I overstating this? Because I think hate is hate, no matter where it is.

It is, as Media Matters explains in patient detail, a gross overstatement, of course. Nearly all of the "hate" he cites come in random comments -- not actual DKos posts -- and appear to have been selected from a very few out of the literally millions of such comments that have been posted at Kos over the years.

O'Reilly has been claiming for the better part of a week now that "hate is hate" and thus Kos is just like the haters; the previous outburst went like this:
Hate is hate, sir. That website traffics in it, as do the Nazi websites. No difference.

Kenneth Brown, Jacksonville, Florida: "Mr. O'Reilly, I'm a black American and understand your argument against JetBlue, but I disagree with you comparing the Daily Kos to the KKK. The website simply hates the Bush administration."

What does the pope have to do with the president, sir? How about Israel? The website sells hate, as does the KKK and the Nazis. The comparison is valid.

Actually, there really is no comparison, and anyone claiming so is seriously misleading the public about the nature of the hate that is peddled with great regularity at sites run by neo-Nazis and Klan types.

DailyKos is, by any standard -- whether on the Internet or not -- a fairly mainstream liberal website that specializes in political dialogue. The clear mass of posts at the site are about politics, and they express clearly mainstream views. In a few rare cases, commenters can be found making hateful remarks, but they are statistically quite tiny in number. Moreover, Kos has specific policies regarding hateful speech, and while they may be enforced with varying degrees of laxity, to claim that the site actually encourages hate speech is a gross and absurd distortion of reality.

As for being a purveyor of hate -- ahem -- O'Reilly himself has a noteworthy track record. Witness, for example, his latest adventure in the Bizarro Universe, when he tried promoting the cockamamies theory that lesbian gangs were running rampant and threatening hetero males with pink pistols -- a story that he continued to insist was "legitimate."

This story, in fact, was a classic piece of anti-gay hatemongering, painting them without evidence as violent, ballbusting thugs likely to inflict harm on poor white males, linking them groundlessly with criminal behavior and hateful behavior. It was in the same mold as the anti-immigrant hatemongering in which O'Reilly indulges regularly, and which sparked his onscreen fight with Geraldo Rivera.

Indeed: where, exactly, does O'Reilly think people like the Klan (which also indulges frequently in gay-bashing) get their raw material from, anyway? They get it from supposedly "mainstream" sources like O'Reilly and Lou Dobbs. Were O'Reilly to spend any time perusing far-right websites, he might be appalled to see how many times his reportage is cited by them -- particularly in such chat forums as the neo-Nazi favorite, Stormfront, where O'Reilly's reportage is a real favorite, even though O'Reilly himself is dismissed as a "neocon" by the white-supremacy purists.

But if you really want a taste of what the neo-Nazis and the Klan actually promote at their websites, here's a sampling from various websites and their current offerings, taken today alone:
[From a typical Stormfront post]

A white girl who says she has only slept with 4 guys. One of them happens to be a jew. She says she thought he was white. Yes the guy appears to be white, but she now knows he isn't. She is now aware of what the jews are trying to do to whites, and is completely repulsed by this wreckage of her past, and would like to forget it ever happened.. This is my thought....If she was unaware at the time, it isn't really her fault. She was in no way a liberal, and was under the impression that if someone isn't black, asian, mexican etc. than they are white. This is an extremely nice girl, who may have been naive at one point in time, but I still would not consider her a race traitor. She is currently dating a friend from my gym who is racially aware, and has set her straight. Any thoughts?

A poem posted at Stormfront

We march tired and true
Frowning upon ever n****r and jew
They've taken over our homeland
and we need to take a stand
you see our shaven heads and grin
you know we are proud to be wearing white skin
put on our boots and pull the lace
we are the one true aryan race
we stand tall and ready to fight
the guys on our side arent afriad
and there lifes for our race are laid
We are white and we are proud
We are white and we shout it loud!

Headlines from the American Nazi Party/National Socialist Movement website]

Throwback the Wetback

Eugencis 101:

Mexicans outbreeding whites and blacks!

60 million Californians by mid-century and Latinos the dominant ethnic group, study says.

[From the NSM's 25-point agenda, available atop its website]

We demand land and territory (colonies) to feed our people and to settle surplus population.

Only members of the nation may be citizens of the state. Only those of pure White blood, whatever their creed, may be members of the nation. Non-citizens may live in America only as guests and must be subject to laws for aliens. Accordingly, no Jew or homosexual may be a member of the nation.

The right to vote on the State government and legislation shall be enjoyed by citizens of the state alone.

... All non-White immigration must be prevented. We demand that all non-Whites currently residing in America be required to leave the nation forthwith and return to their land of origin: peacefully or by force.

[From the White Camelia Knights of the Ku Klux Klan website]

Racial suicide all in the name of equality is insane. In the Klan’s opinion, it shows a lack of love and caring for the White Race. The Klan believes Whites are superior to the Non-Whites. When someone comes to a Klansman and makes the comment, ‘we are all God’s creation and the only difference in the Race’s is the color of the skin’, we tell them that they are partially correct. God is the creator, and he did create us all, but there is a world of difference between the races besides skin color.

Why are so many people bent on promoting race-mixing and racial equality? Because, it is Satan’s goal to have us violate our Heavenly Father’s law on mixing our seed with the other people of the world. What use to be wrong is now right. What use to be bad is now good. Our world has been turned upside down and we have only ourselves to blame for being so gullible.

... We’re often asked if there will be a race war in America's future. Our answer to this question is “yes”. What most people don't realize is there are racial battles breaking out all across America right now. These racial battles are going to lead us into an all out race war. As the non-white race population is growing the White population is decreasing.

Our constitution was designed for White Christian America by White Christians and is not going to be adequate for or accepted by non-whites in the future. Today most Blacks and other non-whites blame White's for everything that has gone wrong in their communities. They expect White taxpayers to financially fix their problems for them; White's are tired of taking the blame and or no longer willing or able to support non-white communities. This of course will breed even more hatred against Whites.

I could go on all night, of course. But you get the picture: Hate groups specialize in purveying hate -- not just generic nastiness, the kind inspired by the Michael Savages and Rush Limbaughs of the world everyday but real hate: ethnic, racial, religious and sexual bigotry in its most noxious form. It's not merely a bug that crops up in comments -- it is the entire raison d'etre of these organizations and websites.

That is not even close to the kind of comparatively mild rhetorical heat that emanates from the political blogosphere, particularly not from mainstream sites like DailyKos -- though one could, pretty accurately, make a case that such hate is in fact rhetorically endemic to right-wing sites like Little Green Footballs and the Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler. But even that comparison, frankly, does not do justice to the ugliness that is the everyday grist of the far right's mill.

The hate that comes from the extremist right has a special quality, an extraordinary viciousness that makes clear that its purveyors are simply monsters with rotted smegma for souls. Pretending that what comes out of a mainstream political website like DailyKos bears any relation to them is false, irresponsible, and profoundly misleads the public that is Bill O'Reilly's audience.

UPDATE: Crooks and Liars on O'Reilly's latest attempt at "balance." [And thanks to John for the nice link.]

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